26 September 2023


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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

By Kath Koschel, Allen & Unwin, $32.99.

Here’s a poignant story of hope, resilience and the life-changing power of kindness.

A former professional cricketer and Iron Man competitor, Kath Koschel has defied all medical prognoses by teaching herself to walk on more than one occasion.

Koschel has faced almost unimaginable hurdles. In her mid-20s, she broke her back and was told she may never walk again. Shortly afterwards, she lost her beloved partner to suicide. Then, just as she was piecing her life back together, she was hit by a drunk driver while cycling and forced to relearn to walk a second time.

A small, kind gesture from a stranger (pressing a lift button) was the impetus needed for Koschel to realise that she was not alone. “Somehow it felt like he believed in me, and that I needed to believe in myself again too. Just as he had chosen to help me, I had to choose to help myself.”

In August 2016, Kath set off on a journey around Australia with nothing but the clothes on her back and a phone: no cash, credit card, food or water. To see how long she could survive on the kindness of strangers, her journey took her to every state in Australia, where she met with people from all walks of life to share her kindness manifesto.

Perhaps, she needed a kick-start to remind herself that she could overcome anything and connect with others or maybe it was an act of kindness for herself.

The founder of the global not-for-profit, Kindness Factory, Koschel elaborates on “what surviving on the kindness of strangers taught me about perspective, connection and happiness.”

This moving memoir combines an inspiring call to action. Kindness is a timely reminder that if we look hard enough, we’ll find there is always light to be found at the end of the tunnel.

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